MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/ 18 September) – Bukidnon Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. has disclosed the provincial government is mulling to pursue the plan to convert the 43-hectare tomato paste factory of the Bukidnon Resources Co. Inc. (BRCI) into a special economic zone.
Zubiri told MindaNews recently the provincial government will no longer sell the property, which is presently used as an agricultural haven of the capitol’s Assistance for Low Income Communities and Settlers project.
Instead, the provincial government will pursue the plan to lobby for Congress to convert the BRCI property into a free trade zone as proposed during his first term as governor from 2001-2004, he said.
If approved, the area will be subdivided for lease to international companies who will process their products in the zone for export, Zubiri said. Zubiri cited the success of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZF), located in Cagayan Valley province in Luzon, as an inspiration.
As an economic zone, CSEZF aims to develop the whole area (54,118 hectares) into a self-sustaining industrial, commercial investment, financial and tourism-recreational center and, likewise, with suitable retirement / residential areas, its website said.
Zubiri said the proposed special economic zone of Bukidnon, though significantly smaller in area compared to CSEZF, will boost job opportunities and real property taxation for the local government.
He said the site will be directly linked to the Mindanao International Container Terminal Services Inc. through a new road from Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon to Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental to skip the dragging traffic in Carmen Hills. Zubiri said the new road will boost the prospects of the proposed special economic zone. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)